Rather than allow the buttermilk to reach it’s ‘best before’ date, I used it to make a coconut buttermilk pound cake.
I found the perfect recipe on the Martha Stewart website – I already had all the ingredients in the kitchen.
Sometimes, on an online recipe, the comments made by people who have tried out the recipe are hugely useful. A couple of people stated that the size of the loaf tin recommended wasn’t big enough and they had left over batter. Because of this, I used my largest loaf tin – 19 x 15 x 10cm (8 x 6 x 4-inch). This was probably a bit to big – a smaller one would have sufficed.
Martha Stewart’s original recipe uses sweetened, shredded coconut however, dessicated coconut is easier to get hold of in the supermarket here in the UK. Dessicated is much finer than shredded, so I altered the recipe slightly.
It’s not often that there’s a ‘how to’ video of a recipe available – the one I embedded at the bottom of the post shows just how easy this recipe is.
Click here to save it to Pinterest for later – you won’t be disappointed!
- 170g/6oz butter, softened
- 170g/6oz caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 240g/8½oz plain flour
- 1½tsp baking powder
- 1tsp salt
- 240ml/8fl oz buttermilk
- 75g/2⅔oz dessicated coconut, toasted
- 2tbsp buttermilk
- 125g icing sugar
- 1tbsp dessicated coconut, toasted
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
- Grease a 12 x 22cm (4½ x 8½-inch) loaf tin
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy
- In a small measuring jug, lightly whisk the eggs
- Add vanilla, then the beaten eggs, combining well
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt
- Carefully add the flour to the mixture in 3 additions, alternating with two additions of buttermilk. Combine well
- Using a silicone spatula, fold in the 75g of toasted, dessicated coconut
- Spoon the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes away clean
- Allow the cake to cool in its tin on a wire rack for about an hour
- Remove the cake from the tin and allow to cool completely
- Whisk together the icing sugar and 2 tbsp buttermilk making sure there are no lumps
- Drizzle over the cake and sprinkle with tablespoon of dessicated coconut
I’ve been wanting to treat myself to some mini bannetons since I saw them on Amazon a while ago. They’re the perfect size for making bread rolls or sourdough burger buns. I came across a seller offering a set of ten for £48.50 with free P&P which I thought was good value.
They’re 13cm/5″ in diameter and can hold around 225g/8oz of sourdough – enough to make an extra-small boule. On this occasion, I only put 140g/5oz of dough in each – a perfect amount for sourdough burger buns.
Prior to use, give each a wipe with a clean, dry cloth or tea towel and sprinkle with flour to stop the dough from sticking. For this, I’ve used plain flour and semolina; however, I’ve found that rice flour is by far the most successful option.
I’ve tweaked and speeded up my favourite 24-hour sourdough loaf recipe to make half a dozen rolls.
The addition of a sprinkling of black sesame seeds makes them look pretty and adds a lovely nutty flavour.
They may be burger buns – however, they’re also perfect for bacon sandwiches, sausage sandwiches, fried egg sandwiches… or a combo of them all!
- 290ml/10¼fl oz water at 27ºC
- 90g/3oz 1:1 (100% hydrated) fresh, active sourdough starter
- 450g/15½oz strong white bread flour
- 4g/⅛oz fine sea salt
- 1tbsp sesame seeds (I used black sesame seeds)
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the warm water and starter and mix well
- Add the flour and, using the dough hook, mix until all the ingredients just about come together into a ragged ball shape. Cover with a damp tea towel or large plastic bag/cling film and allow the dough to rest in a warm place for an hour
- Sprinkle over the salt and knead until it is evenly distributed. Cover again with a damp tea towel or large plastic bag/cling film and allow the dough to rest in a warm place for about 2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size
- Dust each bun banneton generously with rice flour
- Lightly sprinkle a work surface with bread flour, pour out the dough and divide it into 6 equal portions (you can weigh them out) - each piece should be about 140g/5oz)
- Carefully form each piece of dough into a ball and place them into the bun bannetons
- Sprinkle with rice flour and cover the bannetons with a damp tea towel. Allow to prove in a warm place for an hour or two, or until the dough has doubled in size
- Preheat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas mark 7 (put your baking stone in now, if you have one)
- Once the oven (and baking stone) has reached the correct temperature, dust a peel with rice flour, turn the buns out on to it and slide them onto the baking stone. If you don't have a peel, dust the baking tray with the rice flour before turning the buns out on to it
- Using a spray bottle on the fine mist setting, dampen the tops of the buns and sprinkle with sesame seeds
- Carefully slide the buns off the peel (if using) on to the baking stone (if using) or slide the baking tray into the hot oven
- Bake for 5 minutes before turning the heat down to 200ºC/375ºF/Gas mark 5. Bake for a further 5-10 minutes until the tops are golden brown and they sound hollow when knocked on the bottom
In the days following Christmas, there are lots of recipe ideas for the food leftovers knocking about. So we thought we’d offer the same service after Easter. You know, for all that chocolate that you’ve not eaten. Are we being a bit optimistic that you’ve got chocolate leftovers?!
This is a lovely, simple recipe. The cake is perfect as an indulgent afternoon coffee accompaniment – or dinner party dessert.
It incorporates readily available ingredients and can be rustled up in a few hours – with time between stages to get on with other jobs if required.
The cake delivers everything that you might expect from a chocolate fudge tart – it’s intense, rich and smooth on the palate. A small amount of salt flakes add a delicious, subtle contrast to the sweetness. There’s flexibility regarding the chocolate that you incorporate depending upon your personal taste or budget. You also have the option to add a bit of booze if you like. Rum, brandy, Cointreau, amaretto, Kahlua – maybe a bit of whisky. Perhaps you’ve got some of those left over from Christmas (or is that wishful thinking again?). Wherever you get the ingredients from, make sure to give it a try.
- 150g/5¼oz Hob-nobs
- 45g/1½oz cocoa powder
- 45g/1½oz light brown sugar
- ¼tsp table salt
- 80g/2¾oz salted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 1 x 400g/14oz tin condensed milk caramel*
- 375g/12¼oz dark chocolate
- 150g/5¼oz double cream
- Pinch of sea salt flakes
- Line the base of a 25cm round tart tin with greaseproof paper, grease the sides with some extra butter
- In a food processor, blitz the Hobnobs, cocoa powder, sugar and salt
- Add the butter and pulse a few times to incorporate
- Firmly press the crumb mixture into the tin, taking extra care with the sides and aiming for an equal thickness throughout
- Chill for 10 minutes in the freezer
- Bake the tart case at 200ºC/390ºF/Gas 6 for 10-12 minutes. Set aside to cool
- Put all the ingredients (apart from the salt flakes) into a saucepan and gently warm over a low-medium heat. Keep stirring the mixture until the chocolate has melted and the ganache is smooth and glossy
- Pour the filling into the cooled tart case and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours
- Just before serving, sprinkle with the salt flakes
Paasstol is a traditional Dutch sweet bread eaten around Easter. For some reason, now lost in the mists of time, when the exact same bread is eaten at Christmastime, it’s referred to as kerststol.
It’s a yeasted loaf full of mixed, dried fruit with a log of almond paste or marzipan enveloped in the middle.
I used a combination of raisins, currants and sultanas. However, you can choose to add candied peel, dried cranberries or succade. People sometimes add chopped or nibbed nuts to the equation – the choice is yours!
To finish, brush the top generously with warm, melted butter and dust with icing sugar. To consume, slice whilst still warm, spread with even more butter and enjoy with a lovely cup of tea!
- 100g ground almonds
- 100g icing sugar
- 1 large egg white
- 600g mixed dried fruit (I used raisins, currants and sultanas)
- 3tbsp dark rum
- 500g/18 oz plain or strong bread flour
- 10g salt
- pinch of cinnamon
- pinch of ground cardamom
- 25g/1oz dried yeast
- 200ml/7 fl oz milk, lukewarm
- 100g/3½oz sugar
- 100g/3½oz melted butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- zest of ½ lemon
- melted butter to brush
- icing sugar to dredge
- Put the ground almonds, icing sugar and egg white into a food processor and, using the chopping blade attachment, combine for about a minute until a ball of marzipan is formed
- Cover in cling film and set aside while you make the dough
- Soak the dried fruit in the rum for at least an hour, stirring every so often so all the fruit comes into contact with the liquid
- In a measuring jug, stir the yeast into the lukewarm milk until dissolved.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, salt and sugar
- In another small measuring jug, mix the egg with the melted butter and lemon zest
- Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the wet ingredients and mix using the dough hook. Knead for 5-7 minutes on a low setting, until the mixture comes together to form a soft, smooth and slightly sticky ball of dough
- Cover the mixer bowl with a damp tea towel or cling film/plastic bag and leave in a warm place to prove for half an hour
- On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle
- Discarding any rum that hasn't been absorbed, sprinkle the soaked fruit evenly across the dough
- Roll the dough up and gently knead by hand for about 5 minutes until the fruit is evenly distributed throughout
- Put the fruited dough back into the mixer bowl, recover with the damp tea towel or cling film/plastic bag and leave in a warm place to prove for a further hour
- After rising, turn the dough out onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- Form the dough into a rectangle about 3cm thick
- Shape the almond paste into a log around 1cm shorter than the rectangle of dough
- Place the almond paste log in the centre of the dough and fold all four sides of the dough over. Roll gently back and forth to seal the edges
- Recover with the damp tea towel or cling film/plastic bag and allow to rise for another half an hour
- Brush the bread with milk and put it in a preheated oven at 180ºC/ºF/Gas mark
- Bake for 40 minutes
- Allow to cool on a wire rack
- Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle with the icing sugar
- Slice and serve
It’s been a while since I’ve made a batch of cookies or a round of shortbread. I’ve hit two birds with one stone with this salted butter chocolate chunk shortbread recipe from Alison Roman.
They’ve become so popular that she now simply refers to them as “The Cookies” – all her Instagram fans know what she’s talking about!
The recipe makes two ‘logs’. Cooking off one log at a time is enough for our 2-person household. The other log is now in the freezer, waiting for the first batch to be demolished.
Refrigerator cookies are so convenient. A quick ten or so minutes in the making, about the same amount of time in the oven, cook off as many as you want and no waste.
The recipe is very straightforward. However, there’s one step that needs to be followed to the letter. Chilling the logs in the fridge for 2 hours before cooking is the absolute minimum.
I whisked them out of the fridge a little too early as we wanted to catch some daylight for our photos. That’s why my cookies spread a little too much in the oven and the chocolate chunks didn’t hold their shape very well. The next batch will be super chilled!
They still tasted great – and that second log won’t be languishing in the freezer for long!
- 255g/9oz salted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
- 100g/3½oz granulated sugar
- 50g/1¾oz light brown sugar
- 1tsp vanilla extract
- 295g/10⅓oz plain flour
- 170g/6oz dark chocolate, chopped (you want chunks, not thin shards of chocolate)
- 1 large egg
- A few tablespoons Demerara sugar, turbinado etc for rolling
- A few pinches of flaky sea salt for sprinkling
- Beat the butter, granulated and brown sugars and vanilla with an electric or stand mixer until light and fluffy, scraping down bowl as needed
- Add the flour and mix until just until combined
- Add the chocolate chunks, mix just until incorporated. The mixture will look crumbly
- Divide the dough between two sheets of parchment paper, cling film and use your hands to form the dough halves into log shapes about 5cm/2" in diameter
- Chill until totally firm - around 2 hours
- Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350°F/Gas mark 4
- Line one or two large baking sheets with parchment paper
- Lightly beat the egg and open up your chilled cookies logs to brush it over the sides
- Sprinkle the coarse, brown sugar on the open paper or plastic wrap and roll the logs in it, coating them thoroughly
- Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the logs into 1cm/½" thick rounds. You'll hit some chocolate chunks, so saw gently, squeezing the cookie to keep it from breaking
- Arrange the slices on the lined baking sheets 2½cm/1" apart, then sprinkle each with a few flakes of salt
- Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden brown
- Allow to cool slightly before transferring them to wire racks to cool
- The dough can made ahead and stored - tightly wrapped in cling film - for up to 1 week in the fridge or 1 month in the freezer. Baked cookies keep in an airtight container for 5 days
Another week, another afternoon loaf cake requested by Justin. The one I’ve chosen this time is Delia’s sticky toffee loaf cake with fudge icing. None of Delia’s recipes have ever let me down!
Thanks to the treacle and spices, it’s quite a dark, wintery, warming cake; perfect, considering that I can see a light flurry of snowflakes falling outside as I write this!
It’s a straightforward recipe – a bit of heating, a bit of mixing – and a long, slow bake. As Delia recommends, this cake is best left overnight before tucking in. The various ingredients have time to combine and settle into each other.
The resulting cake is full of flavour – substantial, yet not hard going. Perfect with a cuppa!
My ‘dark brown’ soft sugar was quite light in colour and I didn’t have any golden icing sugar, so I used Muscovado sugar and plain white icing sugar instead. I reckon the resulting shade of my icing matched Delia’s fine. I had to apply it a little sooner than I would have ideally liked to ensure there was still a bit of daylight for a photograph. Make sure that your loaf is completely cooled before topping with icing otherwise it will just melt.
- 1 level tsp mixed spice
- 2 level tsp ground ginger
- 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 110g/4oz stoned dates
- 50g/1¾oz pecan nuts
- 110g/4oz spreadable butter
- 50g/1¾oz black treacle
- 175g/6oz golden syrup
- 150ml/5¼fl oz milk
- 2 large eggs
- 225g/8oz plain flour
- 4 tbsp evaporated milk
- 3 tbsp dark brown soft sugar
- 50g/1¾oz butter
- 150g/5¼oz golden icing sugar
- Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/300ºF/Gas mark 2
- Line a 900g/1lb loaf tin with a loaf tin liner
- First, place the tin of black treacle (without its lid) in a saucepan of barely simmering water to warm it up and make it easier to measure (I needed to do the same with the golden syrup)
- Next prepare the dates and pecans. The nuts should be chopped fairly small and the dates should be chopped into equally small pieces
- Put the butter, black treacle and syrup into a large saucepan and melt them together over a gentle heat
- Remove the mixture from the heat and allow it cool for a few minutes, then mix in the milk
- Beat the eggs before adding those to the syrup mixture as well
- Sift together the flour, spices and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Gradually whisk the syrup mixture into the dry ingredients, bit by bit, until you have a smooth batter
- Lightly stir in the pecans and about ⅔ of the dates, then pour the mixture into the prepared tin
- Lightly drop the other ⅓ of the dates over the top, pushing them down gently with a skewer (adding this amount of dates last of all gives a better distribution of fruit as the mixture is a fairly slack one)
- Place the cake on a lower shelf so that the top of the tin is aligned with the centre of the oven and bake it for 1½ hours to 1 hour 50 minutes by which time it will have a very rounded, slightly cracked top
- Allow it to cool in the tin for about half an hour before turning it out on to a wire rack
- In a small saucepan melt together the evaporated milk, brown sugar and butter. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes
- Tip it into a bowl and set aside to cool
- Sift in the golden icing sugar and whisk everything together till smooth
- Using a palette knife, spread the icing all over the top of the cooled cake
- Store the cake in an airtight tin, in its paper liner. The cake does seem to improve if kept for a couple of days before eating
We both love pasta and very often the simplest dishes are the best. Spaghetti with tomato sauce, which we cooked today, is one such example. Fresh basil leaves, cracked black pepper and a few shavings of Parmesan are all that’s required to finish to perfection!
We love some form of crusty bread served on the side of our pasta dishes.
Justin spotted a delicious looking tear and share garlic bread on one of his recent Pinterest browsing tea breaks.
The method was quick and easy – and the results delicious.
It’s a very flexible recipe in terms of potential ingredients. Ours was flavoured predominantly with garlic & oregano, but many other herbs such as parsley, rosemary or chives could also be used. Olives, sun-dried tomatoes or small cubes of cheese would also be perfect additions.
The perfect bread to wipe that plate clean! Click here to save the recipe to Pinterest.
- 120ml/4¼ fl oz warm water
- 1tbsp caster sugar
- 1tsp active dry yeast
- 15g/4½oz butter, softened
- 120ml/4¼ fl oz milk
- 1tsp salt
- 400g/14oz bread flour
- 60g/2oz butter, melted
- 1tbsp fresh oregano or ½tsp dried oregano
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1tsp coarse salt
- In a small measuring jug, stir the yeast and sugar into the warm water until dissolved. Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, quickly mix the salt and flour using your fingers
- Make a well in the centre and add the butter, milk and yeast mixture
- Using the dough hook, knead for 7-10 minutes. The dough should stick to the bottom of the bowl but clears sides. It will be soft and slightly sticky. Kneading can also be done by hand but will take around 10-12 minutes
- In a small bowl, combine the butter, oregano and minced garlic. Set aside
- Cut the dough into equal pieces and roll into balls **I made twelve 57g balls**
- Dip the balls, one by one, into the garlic butter mixture (make sure you leave a little aside)
- Lay the buttery dough balls into a greased 20cm x 10cm (8" x 4") loaf tin **I used 2 smaller tins**
- Cover the loaf and allow it to rise in a warm place until doubled in size - about an hour
- After around 45 minutes, preheat the oven to 175ºC/350°F/Gas mark 4
- Brush the tops lightly with more of the garlic butter (still making sure a little is left)
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown
- Brush with the last of the garlic butter to glaze, sprinkle with the coarse salt and serve immediately
- Instead of oregano, you could use basil, parsley or rosemary
- You could also add a few halved olives, chopped sun-dried tomatoes or small cubes of cheese to the dough
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